Veteran CPM leader R Umanath dies

Veteran CPM leader R Umanath dies

R Umanath, a veteran leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), passed away at the age of 92 on Wednesday at a private hospital in Trichy following a prolonged illness.

Umanath is survived by two daughters – U Vasuki, a CPM state unit member, and U Nirmala Rani.

He was an active member of the CPM’s politburo between 1991 and 2008 and also served as party secretariat and a member of the Tamil Nadu state committee for several years. Umanath joined the communist party in 1939, when he was still a student at Annamalai University. He quit his studies to become a full-fledged party member.

During India’s independence struggle, he was convicted in the Madras Conspiracy case and imprisoned for two-and-a-half years. In his lifetime, Umanath spent a total of nine-and-a-half years in jail, and went underground for seven years.

He was firmly opposed to the LTTE and the creation of a separate “Eelam” (homeland) for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

A powerful speaker in both Tamil and English, Umanath was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962 and 1967. He was also a two-time member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

As one of the founding members of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Umanath was instrumental in building the trade union movement in Tamil Nadu. He was the national vice-president of the CITU till 2010.

Various political leaders in the state, including DMK president M Karunanidhi, MDMK leader Vaiko and PMK founder-leader Ramadoss, condoled the death of the CPM veteran.

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